This month our Italian Food, Wine and Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is exploring organic, biodynamic and natural wines hosted by Katarina of Grapevine Adventures. I'm adding a little flair to it featuring a winery in Sicily, Principi di Butera, that is practicing sustainability. Since spring is around the corner I'm sharing one of their wines, the 2019 Diamanti Grillo, that has me craving the nicer days ahead as we slowly creep out of New England's winter.
What is sustainability when it comes to winegrowing? There are a number of different ways a winery can practice sustainability. It's a way in protecting the environment including the earth and air, conserving water and energy, water management, increasing biodiversity, reducing pesticides and preserving the ecosystem for the future.These practices take place within the vineyards themselves as well as the winery. In order to be certified, a winery must follow specific criteria and have their farming practices evaluated.
Does that mean that all sustainable wineries produce wines that are organic or biodynamic? Not necesssarily. It can happen, but just because a winery may be certified in one area, for example biodynamic or organic, does not mean that are also sustainable.
The Winery ~ Principi di Butera
The Principi di Butera winery surrounds an ancient courtyard that belonged to the 1st Prince of Sicily, Prince of Butera, Ambrogio Branciforte. It was bestowed to him by King Philip II of Spain in 1543. The estate is located in the Caltanisetta province located in the southeast part of Sicily just 2 hours outside the capital of Sicily, Palermo.
The area and it's soils are loaded with minerals and are mostly limsteone with clay. It is set only about 6 miles from the Mediterranean coastline so they experience the hot, dry sun along with sea breezes with great diurnal swings allowing for ideal grape growing. The estate occupies almost 800 acres with 420 acres dedicated to vines running east to west.
Here are some ways in which Principi di Butera practices sustainability:
- Use of green manure, the process of burying specific crops to increase the fertility of the soil
- The fertilizers used are organic
- Weeding does not take place
- They use a defense method to protect the spread of parasites in the vineyards
- Preserves local flora and fauna by maintaining around 120 acres of farming land and pastures along with about 60 acres of olive groves that are all organic.
- Use of a rainwater collection system when irrigation is necessary
The winery was acquired in 1997 and is know owned and operated by the well known Zonin brand.
The wine I'm sharing today is based on the Grillo grape. Although it can be find throughout Italy, Grillo calls Sicily home. It is a cross between the Catarratto and Zibibbo (also known as Musut di Alexandria) grapes. It was a grape that once faced extinction. It was widely used in the production of Marsala until it hit a decline in the 60's and was being replaced by more productive grapes. Thirty or so years later it was revived as a dry wine.
The 2019 Feudo Principi di Butera Diamanti Grillo Sicilia DOC is made from 100% Grillo. It's fermented in stainless steel and spends about 4-6 months on the lees with a few more months in the bottle. If you dig Sauvignon Blanc like I do you will want to give this wine a try. A very pale straw color in the glass with a hue of green. A fragrant nose of citrus and pineapple with a hint of pear. Mouthwatering acidity through the palate with mostly citrus and apple notes. On the back palate I also got a slight creaminess and hint of vanilla, possibly from the lees. Salinity showing up and rounding out the finish. Just a lovely, easy drinking and refreshing wine. ABV 12.5% SRP $16.99
I cheated this week and picked up a roast chicken, but brought it home to chop up to make a homemade chicken pot pie to pair with this wine. Delish!
Join our #ItalianFWT group live on Twitter this Saturday @ 11am EST as we chat about Italian organic and natural wines. Read on for some more Italian food and wine suggestions.
Nicole at Somm’s Table will share “Cavalleri Franciacorta with Braised Collard Greens and Polenta”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share “Discovering Ziobaffa Wines”.
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam will share “With an Ethos of Quality and Sustainability: ZIOBAFFA Pinot Grigio Terre Siciliane IGT + Braised Celery Over Farro Couscous”
Susannah at Avvinare will share “Tuscany’s Querciabella Leads the Way on Vegan Wines”
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator will share “La Maliosa Saturnia Biodynamic Natural Wine: Red, White Native Grapes Paired with Pizza #ItalianFWT”
Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will share “3 Wines Going From Organic To Natural”